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New York Governor Odds: Race Tightens Dramatically

Isla Knightley for Bookies.com

Isla Knightley  | 4 mins

New York Governor Odds: Race Tightens Dramatically

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul is facing a greater challenge in the gubernatorial race from Republican Lee Zeldin than many in the punditocracy first thought after the primaries concluded on June 28, 2022.

Hochul appeared to be coasting towards victory in the 2022 Midterm Elections when we last looked at the New York Governor odds. The incumbent was priced at -1400 to win, with two decades of state-wide dominance by the Democrats baked into her odds. At the same time, Zeldin was nothing more than an afterthought, priced at a distant +700.

And yet, with the 2022 Midterm Elections just around the corner, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the gubernatorial race has taken a sudden and unexpected turn in the Democratic bastion of New York following Zeldin’s surge which is threatening to topple the apple cart.

New York Governor Odds: Race Tightens Dramatically 1

The response at betting sites was swift: Incumbent governor Hochul has seen her odds slashed by more than half, from -1400 to -600 at Ladbrokes. Similarly, Zeldin’s odds trimmed from +700 to +350 at this same popular UK betting site.

Betting on politics is not legal in the United States, but it is across the Atlantic where politics odds, also known as specials, are regularly offered. UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has the most up-to-date markets and the latest odds available covering many key races during this Midterm eElection year, including the gubernatorial races in New York, Georgia and Texas.

New York Gubernatorial Race Winning Party

-600 +350

Odds courtesy of Ladbrokes as of Oct. 28, 2022

Lee Zeldin Gaining Ground Fast

Republicans have lost every single governor’s race in New York since George Pataki’s successful re-election (third term) in 2002. In keeping with this trend, Zeldin’s chances of winning back in the summer figured to be low – around 12.5% implied probability (+700).

Recently, however, the former Republican congressman has seen his implied probability of winning jump to 22.2% (+350), as we look at the latest up-to-date odds with betting apps.

Zeldin is still the underdog in this race. His surge has surprised political observers and political betting markets alike as it seemingly came out of nowhere and narrowed the gap on incumbent governor Hochul in the race to the governor’s mansion.

Zeldin is running a campaign that is focused primarily on the cost-of-living crisis, rising inflation and crime. Those issues are reverberating across the country and threatening to oust Democrats from power in other states as well. According to a recent Politico poll, more than 75% of voters are concerned about violent crime and lawlessness.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Zeldin trailing Hochul by four points (50 to 46 per cent). FiveThirtyEight projected the margin to 7 points based on a polling average.

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Hochul Still Betting Favorite In New York

The punditocracy is still betting that Gov. Hochul will come through as the favorite in a state that has Democrats outnumbering Republicans 2 to 1. But it is impossible to dismiss the opening Republicans appear to have now that Hochul’s implied probability of winning has tumbled from 93.3% to 85.7%, reflecting the drop in her odds from -1400 to -600.

Hochul’s incumbency is tenuous. This is in part due to her appointment by default brought about by the forced resignation of disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo a year before his term ended. The then-lieutenant governor Hochul automatically became the 57th New York Governor and the first woman to hold the office in the state.

Hochul hasn’t long been in office, and this is the first time she is running on her merit to win a mandate from voters. But like many other Democrats, she initially centred her campaign on abortion rights and channelling voter concern about former president Donald Trump - a theme played out across the country in both Senate and Governor races.

Unfortunately, this approach is not resonating with voters anywhere, including New York, where Hochul has recently shifted tactics by bringing the economy and crime to the forefront of her electioneering agenda. She has just under two weeks to make her case for re-election and remind voters of her work this past year in these key areas.

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About the Author

Isla Knightley for Bookies.com
Isla Knightley
Isla, a sports journalist and betting expert, covers several sports, including the NFL, as well politics. She joined Bookies.com in 2021 after contributing to other betting sites.